A Glossary for Messianic Jewish-Christian Worship and Practice:
This section provides a simple glossary of terms that can be useful for Messianic Jewish-Christian worship and practice. This page focuses on Biblical divine names. May El Shaddai and Yeshua be blessed!
These terms come from Biblical Hebrew/Aramaic, modern Hebrew, and Biblical Greek, as transliterated or translated into American English. These terms below currently follow this pattern:
Term > verse example > source > English translation and meaning
<< Some Divine Names >>
Abba > (ex.: Rom. 8:15) > Biblical Aramaic > Daddy or Papa used as a close, intimate term of endearment for one’s father.
Adonai > (ex.: Gen. 18:27, 30-32) > Biblical Hebrew > Lord as in “master” / “boss” / “supervisor” / “owner” / “slaveowner”; the leader who has authority and gives orders to workers. This name can oftentimes appear in the Tanakh in compound with YHVH to mean “Sovereign LORD,” or can be used as a verbal substitute for saying YHVH.
Christos > (ex.: Acts 3:18) > koine (common) Greek as in the Brit Hadashah (New Testament) > Christ. This term is the Hellenistic Greek version of the ancient Hebrew term “Meshiakh” (Messiah). In New Testament usage, Christos is sometimes joined to the personal name Iesous to form the well-known English “Jesus Christ” (meaning: Jesus the Messiah).
El > (ex.: Mic. 7:18) > very old Semitic, possibly Phoenician > God or god. This is a very generic Semitic root term for deity and can be used to communicate ideas such as “God,” “god,” “mighty one,” or “strength.” In the Tanakh (the Old Testament) it often appears in a compound name, as exemplified here below.
Elohim > (ex.: Gen. 1:14; Ps. 82:6) > Biblical Hebrew > God or gods. In the Tanakh (the Old Testament), this is a very common plural form of El that is used to refer to deity in the sense of the true “God” of Israel, or in its plural usage as “gods,” “mighty ones,” “rulers,” or “judges.” In the Tanakh this term can often appear in a compound name, such as Adonai Elohim or YHVH Elohim.
El Elyon > (ex.: Gen. 14:18) > very old Semitic or Canaanite > God Most High, in the sense of the true God of Israel being the highest, the upper-most, the supreme, or most exalted of all things and above all gods.
El Gibbor > (ex.: Isa. 9:6) > Biblical Hebrew or Aramaic > Mighty God. The descriptive gibbor refers to the power and strength of a man to prevail or be victorious over others; it can also be used in the senses of “hero” or “warrior.” Applying gibbor to El (God) suggests the image of God the mighty/strong victorious Warrior.
El Olam > (ex.: Gen. 21:33) > Biblical Hebrew or Aramaic > Eternal God or Everlasting God. The adjective olam can be used to refer to the remote past or up to the very distant or hidden future, or such as eternity.
El Shaddai > (ex.: Exod. 6:3) > very old Semitic, possibly Akkadian > God Almighty, in the sense of the true God of Israel being all-powerful and authoritative Lord and King-like ruler over His kingdom and its residents.
Hagios Pneuma > (ex.: Luke 2:25) > koine (common) Greek as in the Brit Hadashah (New Testament) > Holy Spirit. Hagios Pneuma is the Hellenistic Greek version of the Hebrew personal term for the “Holy Spirit” presence of God. Pneuma is the broad root term, which can mean the “spirit, breath, wind” within a person. See “Ruakh Kodesh” below.
Iesous > (ex.: Matt. 1:21) > koine (common) Greek as in the Brit Hadashah (New Testament) > Jesus. Iesous is the Hellenistic Greek translation of the Hebrew personal name Yehoshua (Joshua) or Yeshua (Jesus), both of which share the same root. See also “Yeshua” below.
Jehovah > (ex.: Ps. 83:18 KJV) > English > Jehovah, referring to YHVH. This name is, for instance, used to refer to YHVH in the old King James Version of the Bible. It is not improper to use Jehovah as a Divine name, but it is actually not a Biblical name. It is an English translation of YaHVeH that became popular after the Protestant Reformation and in part due to widespread use of the English Bible.
Kurios > (ex.: Luke 1:11; 10:1) > koine (common) Greek as in the Brit Hadashah (New Testament) > Lord. Kurios is the Hellenistic Greek version of the Hebrew title “Adonai.” The Greek term carries the same shades of meaning of “owner,” “master,” “boss,” and other similar social designations of authority. In New Testament usage, Kurios is applied to both Theos (God) and Iesous (Jesus).
Melek > (ex.: Ps. 95:3) > very old Semitic and Biblical Hebrew > King, here in reference to the true God of Israel. Melek is extremely common and with many diverse applications to indicate someone in office or of magisterial authority or other rulership, or someone who exercises power and functions of a monarch. Applying this title to the true God implies some similarity to El Shaddai.
Meshiakh > (ex.: Ps. 2:2; Dan. 9:25) > Biblical Hebrew > Anointed One; Messiah. This term is flexibly applied to diverse individuals in the Tanakh (the Old Testament), but is most important in how it is used to denote an ultimate “Anointed One” or messianic deliverer for Israel and the Jews. Meshiakh ultimately indicates a unique divinely chosen leader-deliverer, and is somewhat synonymous with the Hebrew “Melek.” The ultimate sense of Meshiakh embodies a promise and hope of the Kingdom of Elohim (God). Compare “Christos” above.
Parakleitos > (ex.: John 14:26) > koine (common) Greek as in the Brit Hadashah (New Testament) > Helper, Comforter. Parakleitos is a Hellenistic Greek descriptive term used for the Holy Spirit of God. The term is intended to describe the Holy Spirit’s invisible activity as a counselor to the believer’s heart and mind.
Ruakh Kodesh > (ex.: Isa. 63:11) > very old Semitic, Hebrew > Holy Spirit. This term for God is to indicate His holy invisible spiritual powerful presence throughout His creation. Ruakh is the broad root term, which can mean “Spirit, spirit, breath, wind, life force.” See also “Hagios Pneuma” above.
Seh Elohim > (John 1:36) > Roman era and modern Hebrew > Lamb of God. This is a descriptive title applied to Jesus in the modern Hebrew version of the Brit Hadashah (New Testament). Seh (“Lamb”) refers to Jesus being God’s great sacrifice for forgiveness of sins. Although the title comes from the Greek New Testament, the Hebrew version of it is what is popularly used.
Theos > (ex.: Gal. 4:8; John 17:3) > koine (common) Greek as in the Brit Hadashah (New Testament) > God. Theos is the Hellenistic Greek version of the Hebrew “El” or “Elohim.” Similar to the ancient Hebrew, the Greek Theos is a very broad term for deity, pagan or otherwise. In New Testament usage, Theos refers to the one true Creator God, who is the Elohim (God) of Israel and the “Father” God who sent His Son, Iesous Christos (Jesus Christ), as His faithful witness and mankind’s Messiah.
Yeshua > (Luke 2:21) > Roman era Hebrew/Aramaic > Jesus. In his human earthly lifetime, Jesus would have been usually called Yeshua by family and others, since it was of the native language of Hebrew/Aramaic for many of the Jews of Palestine/Judea. As often happened, personal names derived from verb root forms. The Hebrew root of the personal name “Yeshua” is the verb yasha, broadly meaning “save.” The name “Yeshua” is also recognized as a shortened form of the older Hebrew name “Yehoshua” (Joshua). See also “Iesous” above.
YHVH > (ex.: Exod. 3:14-15) > Biblical Hebrew > YHVH, Yahveh, YHWH, Yahweh, short form YH, Yah ; often called the Tetragrammaton (Four Letters). These 4 letters YHVH are used in the Tanakh (the Old Testament) to represent the intimate covenant name of God. A full version of the name in the text is transliterated Ehyeh asher ehyeh (“I am who I am”). The use of the 4 letters YHVH alone is useful to appreciate that the original precise pronunciation of the syllables is not surely known. Some English Bibles try to distinguish YHVH by all capital letters as in “LORD.” In the Tanakh, YHVH oftentimes appears as part of a compound Divine name.
YHVH Nissi > (ex.: Exod. 17:15) > Biblical Hebrew > LORD my Banner. This name is describing YHVH as being like a banner, signal pole, warning flag, or ensign. Such were used, sometimes mounted on a hilltop, to make a visual rallying point for people called to gather for some communal purpose, such as for battle. The erected nes (ensign, sign) could serve as a symbol of hope and safety or warning.
YHVH Tsabaoth > (ex.: 1 Sam. 17:45) > Biblical Hebrew > LORD of Hosts ; in the sense of “hosts” referring to armies or groups of followers, or to a group of nations, or even to diverse living things in creation. This title appears often in the Tanakh (the Old Testament), and its purpose is to emphasize YHVH as leader of many followers or subjects, such as would lend support to the activities of a king or ruler.